Driving on electricity produces less carbon than driving on gas. Yet in most places, no one gets credit for lowering those carbon emissions.

That is, until now. In an effort to reduce the cost of installing electric-car charging stations, a new agreement by the Electric Vehicle Charging Carbon Coalition (EVCCC), calculates carbon credits to benefit the charging station provider.

Electric-car charging carbon credits [SOURCE: EV Charging Carbon Coalition]

Electric-car charging carbon credits [SOURCE: EV Charging Carbon Coalition]

Credit calculations are based on the difference between the average MPGe of electric cars on the road and the average mpg of a typical internal combustion vehicle in the same vehicle segment. They also account for the average efficiency of Level 2 and Level 3 chargers and the carbon emissions of powerplants in the region where the charging stations are located.

Station operators earn credits every time an electric car plugs in.

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Today, the United States has about 49,500 public charging outlets for 1 million electric cars on the road, according to the EVCCC.

Under the Paris climate accord, which President Trump withdrew from but whose goals many electric-car advocates still follow, the country was expected to have 330,000 charging outlets and 14 million electric cars by 2025. To close that gap and meet world climate goals will require six times as many outlets and 14 times as many electric cars on U.S. roads.

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“More comprehensive and faster EV charging infrastructure have both been identified as key reasons drivers avoid EVs," says Wayne Killen, director for charging infrastructure planning and business at Electrify America, citing Strategic Vision’s New Vehicle Experience Survey among others. “There is an acute lack of charging infrastructure, especially more costly DC fast charging, in convenient public locations."

Carbon credit transactions by source [CREDIT: Ecosystem Marketplace]

Carbon credit transactions by source [CREDIT: Ecosystem Marketplace]

As more long-range electric cars with bigger batteries hit the market, they take longer to charge, and chargers have to get faster. These faster chargers are much more expensive than the more common Level 2 chargers that have rolled out so far. The latest 350-kw fast chargers require liquid-cooled transmission lines, and most include remote transforming stations.

By enabling charging companies to earn an additional 5 to 10 percent return on their capital by selling carbon-offset credits, the EVCCC hopes to encourage charging networks to speed up their investment in building more infrastructure. The most common carbon-offset buyers are universities, businesses, utilities, individuals, and other organizations such as non-profits, according to the EVCCC..

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The voluntary carbon-offset program is not available in California and other places that have mandatory cap-and-trade programs, because that would allow charging network providers to sell the same carbon credits twice.

California is the largest market for electric cars in the United States and the state with by far the most charging stations.

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